With a line that wrapped around the lobby, Boston Comic Con’s Marvel Universe Panel was jam packed with fans eager to learn more about the changes headed to Marvel Comics. Ricky Purdin (Marvel Talent Manager), Gerry Duggan (“Chewbacca,” “Deadpool”), Phil Noto (“Black Widow,” “Chewbacca”), Frank Tieri (“Black Knight”), Erica Henderson (“Unbeatable Squirrel Girl”), Frank Brunner (“Doctor Strange”), Josh Williamson (“Illuminati”), Joe Quinones (“Howard the Duck”), Humberto Ramos (“Extraordinary X-Men”) took to the stage to discuss their current projects and offer a glimpse of the Marvel Universe’s future in a panel that was, according to its moderator, the most requested of the weekend.
When asked if he kept up with Marvel Comics, Brunner said, “Years ago [I kept up with Marvel], but then they stopped sending me books.”
“I don’t necessarily follow titles, but I follow creative teams,” Quinones pitched in.
“There’s a lot of books we haven’t announced. All-New All Different Marvel is tiered project,” Purdin revealed.
“The editors have several jobs, but one of them is traffic and time management… On ‘Uncanny Avengers,’ I wrote #1 and 2, and then I wrote #5,” Duggan said.
“You can plan stuff ahead, but you never know where anything ever is going to go in any aspect of life,” Henderson added.
“There’s one time, for the upcoming issue which comes out soonish, there’s a lot of cameos in this issue. My editor, Will Moss, did his homework. In the list was Chewbacca… which was a joke,” Quinones shared, excited at the prospect of it.
“I got the angriest text from Joe [Quinones] that day,” Henderson laughed.
Noto revealed said that he always wanted to draw Domino in a book in response to a fan question. Henderson added that she would like to draw Hercules.
“Chewbacca,” Quinones joked.
When asked about Silk’s design, Ramos responded, “It was a little tricky, because I had a different idea. For the origin story, Dan [Slott] wanted her to be all dressed up in silk. That limited our options. Ellie [Pyle] was really on the idea that we wanted to picture of Silk. We did a lot of designed and feedback and a lot of e-mail and back-and-forth, trying to picture her the best way possible. We knew she was going to be a big character… That’s why we have to take it easy, step-by-step… I had little to do with the design [post-“Spider-Verse”] but it was a beautiful design.”
“There should have been a lot more, but Disney/Marvel doesn’t have a lot of input with what they make,” said Noto in response to a question about the Black Window merchandising controversy. “With whatever movie she’s in next, I think you’ll see more of that [following fan outcry].”
“All of the books count, and you’ll see elements of them after ‘Secret Wars,'” Purdin revealed.
“I was an animator at Disney, and I left for Marvel Comics,” Noto said, recounting how he broke his work contract with Disney and that they blacklisted him from future Disney jobs. “They can’t get rid of me,” he joked.
“I’ll say it a million times, [I want to write] the Punisher,” Williamson said.
“Silver Surfer,” Brunner pitched in.
“I wanted to write the Thing,” Tieri added.
“They’re going to make a Pop version of my [Howard the Duck] version,” Quinones revealed, in response to a question about Marvel Funko Pop figures.
When asked how he came up with ideas, Tieri joked, “A lot of drugs.”
“I write every down, no matter how silly or far-fetched it is. Be very diligent about organizing your thoughts. After a long time, you’ll realize you have a collection of ideas to go through and revised,” Duggan advised.
In response to question about what character they feel worst about killing, Tieri said, “I’ve killed a lot of characters. I’m going to have to think about this.”
“In ‘Red Skull’… I killed everyone in the first issue! We killed Bucky, we killed Deathstrike… I felt kind of bad killing Bucky off. Luca [Pizarri] loves Bucky,” Williamson said.
“The character I got the most grief for killing… one character [in my ‘Wolverine’] run, Mister Rex, he puts a puppy in the microwave,” Tieri said, drawing gasps from the audience. “You can kill whoever you want, but you kill one damn puppy, that’s it… the moral is, you can kill people, just not animals.”
“I felt bad about burning up Deadpool and his supporting cast in #250,” Duggan said.
In response to a fan who asked about “Star Wars” Infinity Comics, Purdin said, “I think anything is possible.”
“Who knows what’s going to happen down the line?” Duggan pitched in.
“That’s Lucasfilm’s call,” Noto added.
“We have one [new character] in ‘Uncanny Avengers’ out of the gate, but it’s been eight months since you’ve seen the characters. It can be a little disorienting, but I think it’ll be fun,” Duggan revealed.
“I think with Squirrel Girl… we needed to create a cast of characters around her in a new setting. We had to have those people. It was out of necessity!” Henderson shared.
“I had to do the same with Black Knight… there will be some old characters, but there’ll be some new too,” Tieri said.
“Howard would not exist if it weren’t for the post-credits scene [in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’],” said Quinones when asked about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“I beg to differ,” Brunner jumped in, to laughs from the audience.
“You’ll see Bob [the Hydra Agent]… I don’t think you’ll see his name in lights. Joe Kelley is back writing Spider-Man and Deadpool. It’s a good time to be a Deadpool fan. There’ll be enough to scratch your Bob itch,” Duggan said in response to a fan who asked about a Bob the Hydra Agent solo book.
“We announced ‘Black Knight’ yesterday, and someone showed me it was trending!” said Tieri when asked about fan response.
In response to a question about gender inequality in comics, Noto said, “I try to draw my females as normal and realisitic as possible.”
“I think the thing is drawing different types of characters,” Henderson added.
“Chip [Zdarsky] and I would love to do the Inconsolable Spider-Man, just crying all the time,” Quinones said about a supporting character he’d love to see get his own title.
“I was trying to pitch that we retcon Squirrel Girl’s origin so that she was a High Evolutionary. They didn’t go for it,” Henderson added.
“Howard [the Duck] gets to his own planet and beats the hell out of Donald Duck,” Brunner pitched in
“I think you’re going to see a lot of Deadpool in the next year,” Duggan shared.
When asked who their superhero was, Ramos immediately responded, “Spider-Man.”
“Like a Batman,” Quinones said after some hesitation.
“I like the Flash,” Williamson said, hastily adding, “I like Iron Man.”
“I got to do my favorite Marvel character… it’s Doctor Strange,” said Brunner.
“Sabretooth, because he’s one mean son of a bitch,” Tieri shared.
“I like a Tony Stark that’s struggling with his alcoholism,” Duggan pitched in.
“Guy Gardner,” Henderson said.
“I don’t have any [characters] that I hate. Even the ones that I hate, I torture out of love,” Duggan said, when asked which characters he disliked.
“Gambit!” Tieri added.
“I was doing cartoons back in the 90s, and I hated Gambit,” Brunner agreed.
“Everybody hates Gambit!” Tieri said, then joked, “Now announcing my ‘Gambit’ series.”
With that, Purdin thanked the audience for coming and the panel disbursed.
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